Resources and the Formation of Societies, Settlement Areas and Cultural Identities on the Italian Peninsula during the 1st Century BC
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Institut für Klassische Archäologie
Telephone: +49 7071 29 72378
SFB 1070 ResourceCultures
Telephone: +49 7071 29 73588
The project studies the relationship of settlement processes and the formation and transformation of social and cultural identities on the Italian Peninsula during the 1st mill. BC.
The elaborated definition of resources used by SFB 1070 is applied in order to expand the dominating discourses with alternative explanations of material phenomena of settling and culture contact, especially with regard to the creation and transforming of identities. The Etruscan dominated region near the Thyrrhenian Sea and the Greek settled Magna Graecia in the south of the peninsula are used as examples and are studied in a comparative way.
During the first phase of the SFB the period between the 8th and the first half of the 5th cent. BC, regarded as a formative phase for identities in both regions, was explored. Now the timeframe is expanded into the late 5th and 4th cent. BC – a period of ‘crises’ and the appearance of new actors, such as the Campani and Lucani. The focus is on questions about change and continuity in the use of resources under distinctively changing social and political conditions.
The ore deposits of Central Italy and Sardinia and the fertile land of Magna Graecia are considered crucial factors in large-scale migrations – so-called ‘colonisations’ and ‘de-colonisations’ – during the 1st mill. BC. Socio-cultural dynamics of processes of settlement thus are directly related to raw materials and land. The social and cultural change during the Italian prehistory is explained in a one dimensional way as ‘Orientalising’ or ‘Hellenisation’, also with regard to counter movements of the groups labelled as ‘Italic peoples’.
In contrast to such discourses that are employing archaeological data just for interpretations of social development (Etruria) or ‘ethnic interpretations’ (regarding the appropriation of land and culture contact in the Magna Graecia) our project aims for an understanding of the multitude of social and cultural identities involved. Amongst those are the powerful, family-based groups competing in Etruria, or the women in Greek poleis. Based on both, archaeological and historical, sources a differentiated picture is drawn, considering the complex cultural and ethnic situation of the 1st mill. BC, as well as the supra-regional Mediterranean commonalities.
The settlements and settlement areas of to regions of historical significance for the Italian peninsula are scrutinised as places and spaces of identity construction. According to the objectives of project division C. Valuations the cultural, symbolic and memorial dimensions of resources within the ResourceComplexes ‘metals’ and ‘arable land’ are studied. From an archaeological point of view this includes monuments and objects in the context of sacred spaces (with respect to the sources available these will be cemeteries in Etruria and sanctuaries in Magna Graecia), according to SFB 1070’s hypothesis of a sacralising of important resources. Thus the central public spaces, used for the negotiating of the value of resources, as well as constructions of the past and endowments of cultural memory will be in the focus of our interest.
The approach to understand symbolic orders, representations and evaluations of resources will be based on iconological and contextual analyses of pictures, objects and monuments within specific public spaces, which will be studied as spaces of intentional depositions or as spatial arrangements of objects and representations applying a diachronic and comparative perspective. Valuations of resources are traceable with the use of iconography (for example representation of gods) and by their context (meaning the spatial alignment seen as a material arrangement). The assemblages reflect certain patterns of the use of materials and the functions of objects in ritual context. In addition they represent the tangible core for the creation of social and cultural identities.
In Etruria especially the metal objects in the ‘princely burials’ of the 7th cent. BC were recorded. These artefacts were used as resources of identity creation of competing social groups. But also the function of deposits and burial monuments for the construction of cultural memory was studied. The past as a resource is not only represented by the rich burials of competing family groups in Etruscan cities, but also by the heroa of the Greek settlements in Magna Graecia. In this second study region also the founding of new settlements and the development of land as a creation of sacred landscapes was studied. Sanctuaries of Demeter and Kore were of central interest with regard to ‘land’ as a resource, but in their aspect as evidence for the integration of women into the settler identity as well.
During the current phase of the collaborative research centre the 5th and 4th cent. BC in both regions will be examined by case studies, scrutinising continuities of settlement and changes of the use of monuments of cultural memory, thus building on the previously achieved results.
Our approach, based on monuments and intentionally designed spaces using published data, is expanded to cover the time from the 5th to the 4th cent. BC and eventually to the Romanisation during Hellenistic times. The creation and changes of cultural and social identities is thus analysed in a long term perspective. Emphasis will be placed on a concluding comparison of natural conditions, raw materials and environment with the corresponding reflections and cultural constructions, as well as the reconstructed conditions of living.
Archaeological and historical fields of research central to the prehistory of the Italian Peninsula, including metals and land as resources (in a traditional sense) are reviewed. Thus the project adds an approach, especially used in Italian archaeology for the analysis of the ideologia funeraria, to the methodological inventory of the research centre. This approach is expanded to other sacralised contexts, such as spaces of worship. Within the centre the results of this archaeological project may be used for comparisons of resource related processes, within project division C. especially with regard to resources as symbolic capital of social groups and thus also to the material and medial conditions of the construction of orders, representations and evaluations of resources.